If you are one of those progressives who have been frustrated by the president’s inability to clearly articulate his vision for the country, then President Obama’s second inauguration address was food for your soul. If President Obama’s first inaugural speech was about the country “as it is” then this address was about the country as he sees it in the future. What the nation witnessed was a Barak Obama unchained from the shackles of future election campaigns, free to speak his mind on a host of issues.
This was a more candid Barak Obama than we have ever seen before, taking this historic opportunity to lay out his aggressively progressive vision for the future.
He talked about the country having a moral responsibility to guarantee that all our citizens are treated equally…that we have a moral responsibility to look out for each other…that “our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.” He talked about the gay community and their right to equality under the law, marking the first time that gays had ever been mentioned in an inaugural address. He talked about women and their struggle for equal pay for equal work. He talked about minorities and their struggle for citizenship. He cited Stonewall, Seneca Falls and Selma as points in history where minority individual rights were rebuffed before the country the country accepted their equality.
A major component of his speech focused on climate change, saying that if we fail to address the effects of climate change “we would betray our children and future generation.”
He also took the opportunity to address his opponents. He said that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security “do not make us a nation of “takers… (They) free us to take the risks that make this country great.” And he chastised intransigent conservatives noting that they took an “oath to God and country…not party.”
For us this inaugural event represented something much bigger than a candid unleashing of the president’s progressive agenda.
For us and millions of Americans this wasn’t the second inauguration of the country’s first black president.
It was the second inauguration of President Barak Obama……who just happens to be black.
And that is a very big deal for this country.